Monday, June 18, 2012

Wedding Of Jason And Grace Martinez

This wedding invitation came through Sally, who had been invited to the wedding, and wanted someone to escort her. My problem was that I knew nothing at all about either bride or groom. I asked Sally: "So, Grace is the daughter of your friend Carol; the one who was in the car accident the other day?" And Sally replied: "No, not THAT Carol! The OTHER Carol!" So that was the full extent of my knowledge regarding the family. I felt vulnerable, because, I was going to attend a wedding where I had barely-learned the bride's first name, and didn't even know her last name, or either first or last names of the groom. I was flying blind.

The first weighty question was: what to wear? For guys, the question is usually easily-answered: a suit. In this case, though, I knew it was going to be an outdoor wedding on a hot summer's day (maximum surface temperature at Sacramento Executive Airport was 105 F on Saturday, and 97 F on Sunday). And I sweat - a LOT! Even though my newest suit was a very lightweight suit, I still had to wear a shirt with it, and all my suitable suit shirts were long-sleeved.

So, I decided to wear a short-sleeved Hawaiian Shirt, and set it off with a golden Bolo tie that I traded for another Bolo tie last Christmas with E.'s boyfriend Chris. It was a loud and garish Bolo tie, and not even specifically New Mexican, but more like a Hawaiian's idea of what a genuine New Mexican Bolo tie might be like, and either would totally work as a fashion statement, or totally fail, depending on the nature of the crowd, of whom I knew next to nothing. I was thinking an outdoor wedding on a hot summer's day is going to favor less conservative wear, but who could possibly even know? But I brought a second, more-conservative shirt just in case.

The wedding was held at a cute Bed-and-Breakfast called Monte Verde, located near Foresthill, SE of Auburn, and NE of Sacramento. We arrived early and had time to explore a bit. Judging from the early arrivals, it looked like the dubious Hawaiian shirt idea was going to be fine - they were hot too - so I relaxed and started wandering the grounds with Sally.

We started talking to the DJ, and admiring his equipment. It was interesting how his business card did not have his phone number on it (a point noted by Sally), but did feature his Web Sites. So, you couldn't even contact him, except through the Internet.

Anyway, we mixed with the folks, ate hors d'oeuvres, and waited for the photographer to finish with formal photographs in the driveway of the Bed-and-Breakfast.

Dinner table seating was assigned by a curious Christmas-like tree sitting on a table that featured hanging library cards, with other library artifacts scattered about (apparently an ancient and charming family reference that flew right over my knowledge-deprived head). Each table featured a favorite novel (ours was J.D. Salinger's 'Franny and Zooey'). For dinner, we were seated with the parents of the bride, and their friends.

There was a loose cabal at the table: three of the men, including the father of the bride, had been dorm mates at UC Santa Cruz in the late Sixties. One had been the RA (residential adviser) of his dorm floor. So, college was the common theme here (Go Banana Slugs!).

After the wedding cake was cut, I went to fetch a slice. I was followed in line by the former dorm RA. I turned towards him, and he said to me: "Moss Agate". Apparently, while we were sitting at the table, he had been studying my Bolo tie from the distance, and had finally identified the pattern, or the stone. Then, I noticed he was wearing a Bolo tie too, although one with a more-recognizable New Mexico theme than the one I was wearing. Apparently, my choice of a Bolo tie for today's festivities was a success, because, if one fellow wasn't already wearing a symbolic raccoon-themed tie, and if the father of the bride hadn't been constrained by his formal role in the proceedings to wear a bow tie, that nearly all the men at the table would be wearing Bolo ties. Go figure!

We were each presented with a small handcrafted origami box as a keepsake. Inside the box was one plastic die and three specialty chocolate dice. The bride's mother explained that both bride and groom were Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) aficionados, and after much research, they had located a company that manufactured chocolate D&D dice.

Ah, that's important information! When I was in high school, D&D was just coming in to its own. One of my friends became a nationally-recognized Dungeon Master, and in the early Eighties flew to various D&D conventions around the country (before Jesus became his guiding light). Gaming has become ever-more sophisticated after the introduction of the Internet, to the point where I noticed (after being invited to a 2004 wedding, where both bride and groom met gaming on the Internet) that they now speak a kind of insider's patois that is hard for mere English-speakers to understand. So, at least I was now gaining some insight here!

I commended one of the men at my table for what appeared to be a wolf-themed tie. No, he explained, that is not a wolf, but rather, a raccoon. He was wearing the raccoon-themed tie in honor of the bride and groom's abiding interest in Sword and Sorcery novels, where talking animals play a prominent role. Ah, Sword and Sorcery AND Dungeons and Dragons! They go together! I began to feel I was getting to know both bride and groom despite never having met them.

Traditional festivities followed: Toasts, tossing the garter; tossing the bouquet; dancing, etc. The dancing featured a 'Soul-Train' type line dance (but they called it something else), plus the Electric Slide, and other participatory dances. There was couple-dancing as well, which Sally and I indulged in too.

As a special moment, many weddings these days seem to feature Journey's song "Can't Stop Believing", and we sang that as well (holding our thumbs aloft and rocking back and forth in mock imitation of holding cigarette lighters aloft at an arena rock concert).

A good time was had by all!

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